Farmers in some rainfed areas in Northern and Central Luzon are hopeful that they will get more profit through their improved access on new agricultural technologies brought about by an internationally-funded project in the country.

The Improving livelihoods and overcoming poverty in the drought-prone lowlands of South and Southeast Asia project funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development is improving farming practices through identification of location-specific rice varieties and nutrient application.

Dr. Nenita Desamero, project lead in the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said rainfed areas, covering about 1.5 M ha of harvested area nationwide, need to be given attention as they are prone to adverse conditions such as drought, flooding, and salinity.

PhilRice together with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and local government units implements the project in Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija.

“Soon, we will have progress in our lives as farmers. I could see that the technologies promoted in this project will give us more savings and yield,” farmer Agaton Milagroso of Gen. Tinio, Nueva Ecija said.

Milagroso said that before the project, his seeding rate was 4-5 cav/ha. But next planting season, he said his seeding rate will be reduced to 2 cav as he observed in the techno demo site that the amount is more than enough for a hectare.

In San Nicolas, Pangasinan, farmer Eusebio Serquiña learned that the new varieties released in 2011 perform well in their area.

“I noticed that NSIC Rc276 and Rc282 have more tillers and gains and longer than the other 11 varieties planted in the project site. I might plant these varieties next planting season,” the 61-year-old farmer said.

In addition to showcasing varieties through farm walk and farmers’ forum in the three provinces this month, project implementers also trained farmers and their children to access information through the Internet.

The internationally-funded project to be implemented until 2014 also covers Cambodia, India, Indonesia Laos, and Nepal.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute